By Caroline Levchuck, Yahoo! HotJobs
In the classic mockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap," sage musician David St. Hubbins says, "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever." His wisdom has relevance for job searching, too. During job interviews, many folks walk a fine line between expressing a winning trait and a losing one.
Job interviews make people nervous. And when people are nervous, their traits can get amplified, oftentimes for the worse.
Here's a look at the positive qualities most folks strive to display during an interview, as well as the negatives they can become, especially if they turn it "up to 11."
Eager vs. Desperate
By all means, display your eagerness for a company. Show your enthusiasm for the position. But make certain you maintain your cool so as not to come across as desperate. Refrain from mentioning how much you need this particular job (even if that is the case). You may state that you can start immediately, but don't make suggestions that could indicate you're in dire straits (i.e., offering to work for free or on a trial basis).
Confident vs. Cocky
Talent is important, but when it comes to hiring employees, confidence is king. Don't be afraid to strut your self-assured stuff during an interview. However, remember to temper it with a fair amount of modesty when speaking of your accomplishments. Be factual, but not too boastful or you could come off as cocky -- the ultimate turnoff to a potential manager.
Professional vs. Stiff
Never underestimate the power of professionalism. Presenting oneself in a businesslike manner -- from your interview clothes to the way you communicate -- is invaluable. Yet even in the most conservative of business environments employers welcome personality. They want to hire more than a suit, so be sure to showcase your individuality, perhaps with a dose of humor or with the examples and stories you tell in an interview.
Cutting Edge vs. Questionable
Everyone is looking for the next big idea, and employers are no exception. They want to connect with forward thinkers who aren't afraid to color outside the lines. But be sure you don't go too far outside those lines during an interview when sharing your ideas. Don't insult the way a company currently does business, and also don't share any risky suggestions that might be more appropriate for a brainstorm session where "all ideas are welcome." Save those for sometime after you're hired -- if at all.